Snopes.com, which evaluates the accuracy of varied claims, declared in an October 2015 tweet that a Texas newspaper ran an ad purchased by the local police department encouraging drug dealers to turn in other dealers.
"Is your drug dealing competition costing you money?" the described ad said. "Would you like to eliminate that problem? We can help! We can take your competition off the streets for FREE. Report your competition to us."
Snopes.com’s Oct. 26, 2015 analysis said a person at the Lumberton Police Department, whom it did not identify, confirmed that the ad ran, though didn’t recall when. Snopes.com said it spotted the ad in an August 2015 Facebook post.
Did police in the Southeast Texas town really place an ad encouraging drug dealers to nark each other out? We were curious enough to check it out on our own.
By phone, David Lisenby, editor of the weekly Lumberton Ledger, confirmed that the Lumberton Police Department placed the ad. Lisenby added that the department subsequently purchased another direct appeal about dealers.
Lisenby said he suggested the ads in hopes of encouraging community involvement.
The second ad showed a marijuana leaf over a message directed to "drug users:" "Has your drug dealer ripped you off?" the second ad says. "Do you want justice? We can help! We can enact justice for you … for FREE."
Wondering if the ads touched off a wave of snitching, we unsuccessfully tried to connect with Chief Danny Sullins of the Lumberton Police Department. Separately, a clerk for the county attorney in Hardin County, Telisha Green, told us by phone that police reports submitted to the office as backup for misdemeanor drug cases had yet to mention an instance of the ads leading to arrests. Prosecutors otherwise have no way of knowing, Green said, if the ads fueled investigations.
But David Sheffield, Hardin County’s district attorney, said he’s heard the ads touched off calls to law enforcement. Sheffield said, though, it’s too early to judge results; investigations take time. Such an ad, he said, "gets your attention and it generates talk. Maybe it prompts somebody to do something they’d just been thinking about doing."
A Facebook post spotted by Snopes.com said Lumberton police placed an ad encouraging drug dealers to turn in other dealers.
Actually, the Lumberton Police Department this year purchased two such ads in the local weekly. We didn’t pin down if the ads led to fresh snitching.
We rate the claim True.
TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.
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